Rachel Carson and Her Contributions to the Environmentalism Movement

Who was Rachel Carson?

In a nutshell — my hero!

Rachel Carson is the American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book, Silent Spring, is credited with advancing the environmentalism movement.

After World War II, the world went crazy over chemicals. Industries and governments believed that humans could tame and control nature through the use of synthetic chemicals. People believed that DDT was a miracle and it was severely overused.

Rachel Carson, who had already wrote several biology and naturalist books and conservation pamphlets for the US government, decided to write Silent Spring to expose the dangers of widespread DDT usage. In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson dared to ask the hard questions about whether and why humans had the right to control nature; to decide who lives or dies, to poison or to destroy non-human life.

Chemical companies sought to discredit her as a Communist or hysterical woman with an affinity for cats.

Her tenacity helped in shaping a growing environmental consciousness.
The Clean Air Act became law in 1963.
In late 1969, President Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act, regarded as the most important piece of national environmental legislation. 

Her efforts sparked the movement leading to the establishment of Earth Day.

Learning Resources

What kind of Mom who studies the environment be if I didn’t turn this into an opportunity to teach the kids about Rachel Carson and her contributions to the Environmental Movement? Especially on Earth Day?!

Rachel Carson colouring sheet
I will be adding this into Teghan’s learning activities for Earth Day.

Rachel Carson learning unit on Brain Pop
Geared towards upper elementary kids.

Rachel Carson facts and worksheet bundle on kidskonnect
Another one for upper elementary kids.
With a basic membership, you can download the sample. It’s only $5-ish USD a month, but we already have a few subscriptions for learning resources.

The kids love watching The Who Was Show on Netflix, so I was thrilled when I found the book on Rachel Carson. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to get it for a while due to it not being considered essential.

Do you know this book?

I once, by chance, picked up a kids book at the library.
It seemed to be older, maybe from the 90’s.
The story is an allegory to Silent Spring and even mentions the book and the dangers of DDT after the story.
The story involves a kingdom that prides itself on their gardens and flowers. They didn’t really have much of a bug problem, but a wizard showed up and convinced the king to use his magic powder. People started getting covered in spots and sores, people were getting sick and even the wizard got sick. In the end, the princess convinces everyone to stop using the powder and people get better.

It was about two years ago.
The librarians have no idea, book store employees aren’t able to help me.
I’ve asked other parents and even university professors.
Have you by chance read this book?
Let me know in the comments.

Happy 50th Earth Day!

Earth Day 50 – Make Everyday Earth Day!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

While most people are stuck at home during this global health crisis, it is still possible to celebrate Earth Day! It’s a good time to be able to slow down and appreciate this giant hunk of rock that we all call home.

Here are some practical ideas to inspire you to make every day Earth Day.

Food

local sustainable food
  • Eat Organic
    • Organic food helps to preserve the richness of the topsoil and helps protect biodiversity.
  • Eat Local
    • Local foods help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions involved in transporting food. Food is also fresher and it helps the local economy.
  • Eat in Season
    • Food that is in season is fresher, travels less, and tends to come from local farmers.
  • Reduce Food Waste
    • If food waste was a country, it would be in the top three countries for greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Eat leftovers, make soup, freeze food for later. Compost.
  • Reduce Meat
    • Try a meatless Monday!
    • Livestock is responsible for a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Cropland is used primarily to grow crops for livestock.
    • The treatment of animals leads to animal suffering in mass commercial settings. Try to source meat locally. Local farmers usually provide better care for the animals and the meat tends to be of a higher quality.

Energy

wind energy
  • Switch to Greener Options
    • In some areas, there are green energy alternatives available. Take advantage of wind, solar or hydroelectric alternatives.
  • Replace Light Bulbs
    • Energy-efficient light bulbs consume 80% less electricity than conventional bulbs. I have noticed that they last much longer and in some jurisdictions are recyclable.
  • Lower the Thermostat
    • The average thermoneutrality of a healthy adult is about 19°C. This means that a person can maintain their body temperature without needing to use any extra body energy. This means that there technically isn’t a reason to need to heat your house above that.
    • If you’re chilly, you can always add layers. I’m always the coldest one in our house so I have some wool socks and a hoodie that I wear indoors.
    • Lowering the thermostat can also save your wallet!
  • Turn off the Lights!
    • With the energy efficient bulbs we have today, I get laughed at over this one. We should still turn off lights when we aren’t going to be in the room for a while. It can help prolong the life of your bulbs, save on every costs and even if it’s a tiny amount — reduce your energy usage.

Waste

Reduce Waste
  • Move towards Zero Waste
    • Reduce the amount of single use products in your life.
    • Buy products with the least amount of packaging.
  • Classic “3 R’s”
    • Reduce
    • Reuse
    • Recycle
  • Compost
  • Shop Second Hand
    • Thrift stores, re-sale stores, consignment stores, yard sales. You can also organise swaps at school or work. Facebook has “Buy Nothing” groups tailored to you neighbourhoods.
  • Stop Buying Stuff!
    • Do you really need it? Think about the whole life cycle of what you’re about to buy. How long will it still be around after you don’t

Nature

  • Grow a Garden
    • Whether its a smaller container garden in the city, a community plot, or a garden in a rural area it’s rewarding to grow your own veggies. I use it as a tool to show my kids where food in the store comes from.
  • Natural Fertilisers
    • Compost!
    • Chemical fertilisers can lead to soil depletion and lead to loss of biodiversity.
  • Plant Pollinator Friendly Plants
    • Planting nectar giving colourful plants will attract pollinating insects.
  • Plant a tree
  • Don’t Pick All the Dandelions
    • Dandelions are usually one of the first flowers in the spring and are an important food source for bees.
  • Collect Litter
    • Even if it’s just one piece on a neighbourhood or nature trail walk, that’s one less piece of litter.

Sustainable Transportation

  • Walking
    • Good for your health.
    • Cost effective.
    • Zero emission.
  • Cycling
    • Quicker than walking.
    • Some cities offer bike rentals.
  • Public Transit
    • By using public transportation, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Vehicle Choices
    • Hybrids and electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and are becoming more affordable. Some areas offer discounts, incentives, and rebates to encourage you to make the switch.
    • If hybrids or electric vehicles are not a viable option, then try to get a vehicle with the best fuel economy. Generally, a smaller engine is more fuel efficient.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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